Falling Down

Decide why your character Fell

As well as the background information we discussed in Step One, the actual circumstances of your character’s banishment are also very important. You should give some thought to the specific events that resulted in the Fatima and Tribe casting your character out. Possible reasons for banishment include:

Crisis of Faith: Many outcasts came to question their faith in Tribe and Fatima long before they were exiled. The infallibility of the Fatima or the righteousness of the tribe may be revealed as fallacies. This type of outcast will often feel betrayed by her elders and Fatima and may become bitter and confused, or may be highly motivated, determined to create something free of the ‘corruption’ they witnessed in their original Tribe.

Fall from Grace: Many outcasts have committed crimes or lost their sense of purpose and are banished because they really no longer have a healthy place within the community. Those who have committed grave crimes (like betraying the Tribe to its enemies) may be seeking redemption or a fresh start. Others could be seeking to justify their actions.

False Accusation: Rivals within a Tribe often try to frame each other, and a successful cycle of innuendo and lies can lead to banishment. Terasheban Judges may also use a convenient scapegoat to resolve a thorny issue or be swayed by false evidence. These outcasts may wish to mete out vengeance on those who framed them or to prove their innocence.

Kidnapping: Z’bri lords and Squat warlords sometimes raid tribal lands and take prisoners. The Tribes routinely banish these poor souls in absentia because they are considered tainted by their captors and (some whisper) to protect the Fatima from magics used by their enemies. Some of these prisoners escape, however. These outcasts usually feel a great sense of loss and frustration at a banishment that was not their own fault.

Political Coup: When a leadership struggle occurs among the elders of a tribe, the new elite usually banishes (or even executes) those rivals it can, as well as their families. Those cast out for no other reason than being on the wrong side of the political fence tend to place a great deal of importance on intrigue and politics. They often seek vengeance against the rivals who pushed them out.

Runaway: Some outcasts banished themselves. Bitter over the corruption they see or following visions of something greater, they leave their families behind and seek out their destinies elsewhere. Like kidnapping victims, these runaways are banished in absentia. Runaways tend to be the least concerned with the affairs of their old tribe; instead, they focus on finding a new home and building a new tribe.

Each Tribe has its own specific sins or crimes, alongside the above, that demonstrate the kinds of thing that members of that Tribe are more commonly banished for. This is by no means an exhaustive list, though!


The Child Historically, Agnites were often banished out of their Fatima’ caprice – She becomes moody and decides She doesn’t want to “play” anymore. Others who have become morose or melancholy can be banished because they are “no fun.” Since Agnes began to grow up, many Fell because they couldn't handle suddenly being faced with reality.

Baba Yaga

The Crone Respect for elders is critical to Yagans, and many are banished for insolence. The gravest crime a Yagan can commit, however, is to refuse death when the Fatima says it is time to pass on.


The Trickster Dahlians are typically banished because they “ruin the game” of the tribe. Those who refuse to partake in amusements and have a morose attitude can offend the Fatima gravely. Tribal unity is also important and many are cast out for causing dissent within the caravans.


The Mother Failure to nurture and cherish life is perhaps the greatest crime for an Evan. Killing without reason and torture are both grounds for banishment, as is letting unhealthy life grow out of control. Eva also demands obedience from her ‘children” and rebellion is frowned upon severely.


The Warrior Honour, especially in combat, is critical to Joanites. Showing cowardice or using guile and trickery to kill an opponent are grounds for banishment. Joan has a special hatred for the Z’bri and consorting with them is a great crime in Her tribe.


The Lover Love with those thought to be inappropriate can be grounds for exile, especially if Magdalen feels your love for Her is not as great.

Tera Sheba

The Wise Disobeying the laws and traditions of the Tribe is the greatest Terasheban sin. Many of these rules are obscure, but all must be obeyed. Especially bad are criminals who abuse the power they have been given – Judges who are unfair or favour their friends, for example.

Tribe 8 covers some pretty serious subject matter, and even talks about sex with minors and non-consensual sex being a reason for banishment or death. However, Falling Down isn’t a game that includes that stuff, and as such references to either of those things aren’t allowed. You have been warned.

Vision Quest/Goal

The transition from a child of the Fatimas to a free agent of destiny is long and complex, but it is epitomised in the revelatory vision that members of the Eighth Tribe experience when they are banished. During the ceremony (sometimes undertaken in absentia), the Fatima withdraws all the love and power She had granted the outcast, theoretically leaving their souls to wither and die. The true Fallen, however, are strong enough to survive and even thrive without their Fatima. Their powerful souls flare in the direct contact with the Goddess. During this traumatic and wonderful time, the outcast experiences a powerful vision that guides her toward her destiny.

Ideally, this vision should set the stage for your character’s whole development. Of course, it is impossible to predict exactly where your character’s story will go as play progresses, but the vision can be used as a device to set up some short and long term goals for her. Decide what your own goals for your character are, then incorporate them into a symbolic dream. Because visions are highly subjective, you can decide on a few rough ideas or images, and let the Guides translate them into story elements at a later date. Visions often include the following elements:

Allies and Guides: Powerful visions often find the Dreamer in the company of others. These can be friends remembered or foreseen from the real world (such as the other Player Characters) or enigmatic spirit guides. These people generally provide assistance during a quest, give the Dreamer directions or must be aided by the Dreamer.

Bogeyman: Many visions are highly traumatic and involve an opponent of some sort. This bogeyman (who may appear as a storm, a fierce warrior, a monstrosity, etc.) may represent an actual physical enemy like a Z’bri lord or a tribal enemy, or a great challenge to overcome.

Metamorphosis: Visions are about change and many see the Dreamer herself transforming into another form. These changes are usually either indications of a transformation that is necessary or warnings of one that must be avoided. The Dreamer will often see herself becoming an animal of some sort, but she could also turn to smoke, glass or another form.

The Otherworld: The locale of a vision can be critical. They often occur in a bizarre, spiritual wonder-world – the River of Dream itself. The shape this world takes can give important clues as to the vision’s meaning, hinting as to where the Dreamer must go and what is affecting her life.

Things to Come: Visions often provide glimpses of the future. These can be highly symbolic (a flock of birds representing the Eighth Tribe), but they can also be very realistic. The dreamer might see herself on her deathbed, with children yet to be born gathered around her.

This can be a really good opportunity to set some goals for the character that you as a player will find fun. Aim for three goals, arranged as follows:

  • One broad concept that contains just a little specificity, such as “Protect the Eighth Tribe at all costs.” “Do good” would be too broad, because there’s nothing at all specific about it. This is your character’s root motivation, the one you can fall back on to answer the question “What would I do?” in just about any situation.
  • One specific concept that can be interpreted in a variety of ways, like “Prove former Tribe wrong by winning glory despite my being Fallen.” The key here is not to lock yourself into just one possible outcome, or limit yourself in how your character is motivated by the concept.
  • One specific short- or medium-range goal, such as “Get revenge on the Judge who cast me out.” This gives you a hook you can grab onto right away. It might be worth discussing this with the Guides!

Choosing your Eminence

Banishment is supposed to strip the Fatima’s love away completely, leaving you without access to the Dream and without any Eminences. For a lucky few – including you – something different happens. However, that is not to say that Falling is not a traumatic and damaging experience. You permanently lose access to one of your two Tribal Eminences – you get to choose which you lose and which you keep.


The Child

Inspiration: This Eminence represents thought springing from nothing, whether it is a concept for a new work of art or the solution to a difficult problem.

Recognition: To see something is the first step in understanding it. Recognition is all about perceptions, and whether it is simply seeing something or going on to understand it. This Eminence reveals things hidden below the surface. This Eminence opposes Mystery and Illusion.

Baba Yaga

The Crone

Death: This Eminence governs all manner of spirits as well as the entropy inherent in life.

Fate: The currents of time, one’s destiny and the fortunes of life are governed by this Eminence.


The Trickster

Illusion: Nothing is what it seems. This Eminence is about changing what we sense, not what is real.

Motion: This Eminence flaunts the notion of inertia, commanding moving things to stop and making stationary things take motion.


The Mother

Empathy: To know a person’s heart is to know that person. Empathy governs moods and emotions.

Life: With this Eminence, Dreamers can see the inner flame of a person’s life and control it to some degree.


The Warrior

Devotion: This Eminence is the power that springs from the collective, where strength is found by belonging.

Fury: This Eminence takes the rage within and directs it outward.


The Lover

Conflict: Whether it is to quell or inflame, no matter the arena, to control this Eminence is to be able to pick your battles, or choose not to battle at all.

Sensuality: Life is nothing but what we see, hear, smell, taste and feel. This Eminence controls the senses, whether to befuddle or enhance, please or pain.

Tera Sheba

The Judge

Truth: This Eminence can stop outright lies, but it has no power to interpret shades of grey.

Wisdom: This Eminence encompasses the body of knowledge inherent in heritage, legends, traditions and old wives’ tales. It allows the wielder to tap into the memories of the living and the dead.

falling_down.txt · Last modified: 2015/05/19 12:34 by joe
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